Portman launches public push

The Portman Group is to launch a campaign urging the public to report complaints about irresponsible drinks marketing.

For the first time, the watchdog will be advertising in the regional press in 15 cities to encourage readers to complain. Ads will also run in magazines targeted at health professionals, trading standard officers, police licensing officers and drinks retailers in a bid to raise awareness of the strict rules controlling the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks.

The move marks a change of tack for the drinks industry funded body, which, until now, has relied on complainants coming forward of their own accord. Michael Thompson, head of communications and external affairs, said: “We’re looking to be more proactive and making sure that people are aware of the rules and how to complain,” Thompson said.

Portman will also distribute copies of a new consumer guide to making complaints along with drinks coasters promoting its code of practice. Chief executive David Poley said: “We want to raise awareness of the independent complaints process and the strict rules controlling drinks producers activities.”

Poley added that external complaints are vital in helping the watchdog “identify and eliminate any inappropriate marketing that is letting down the rest of the industry”.